NewsPublic Affairs / February 23, 2016

House Committee Advances Meth Bill

A House committee advanced a bill regulating the sale of pseudoephedrine. - file photo

A House committee advanced a bill regulating the sale of pseudoephedrine.

file photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- There were two bills this session addressing the role of pharmacists in curbing meth production, and the House has now chosen between the two. 

Both would have put restrictions on pseudoephedrine purchases, and the lawmakers chose the bill that places slightly less responsibility on the pharmacists.

If you’re a patient-of-record at your pharmacy, Rep. Ben Smaltz’s bill allows you to continue buying pseudoephedrine, a standard cold medicine, as usual.  If you’re not, you can buy a small amount of the drug before needing a prescription.  That’s the bill a House committee voted to advance, with one small addition – Smaltz says not just pharmacists, but pharmacy technicians can also handle those sales.

“Pharmacists are busy.  It’s so easy for a tech, they’re standing there right there anyway – it just works out better," Smaltz said. "Logistically, it’s an easier transaction.”

The committee opted for Smaltz’s bill over a Senate bill authored by Randy Head. His required pharmacists to question anyone who wanted to buy pseudoephedrine, to see whether the customer wanted it for a valid reason.  Head, who worked with Smaltz on the issue, says he prefers the direction chosen by the committee.

“Where in my bill, I think pharmacists were afraid that they would be blamed by somebody who wanted Sudafed – ‘Hey, you’re making a bad decision’ – and that would anger somebody,” head said.

The bill now moves to the House floor.

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